Category Archives: Small object collections

Prevention is better than cure: promoting safety on the railways and beyond

This is a guest post by Mike Esbester, Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Portsmouth, introducing a new resource on our website. Nearly 15 years ago I was doing some research at what was then the National Railway Museum Library … Continue reading

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What’s your favourite toy train?

We’ve been going through all the toys in the National Railway Museum’s collection. It might seem a bit odd that we collect toys, but as every parent knows, kids love trains. For lots of us our first introduction to railways … Continue reading

Posted in Events and Exhibitions, Small object collections | 3 Comments

Captain Bill and the ‘Old Lady’

Captain W G (Bill) Smith VRD, RNVR, is not a name that many people, outside of the world of railway preservation, have heard of.  But Bill, an important railway pioneer, is memorialised in two locomotives and a set of nameplates, … Continue reading

Posted in Conservation, Museum news, Small object collections | 1 Comment

Turning Gold to Lead; the first ‘Great Train Robbery’.

Today the words ‘Great Train Robbery’ mean the events of 8th August 1963, when a night mail train was robbed of its cargo of cash. But sitting on display at the National Railway Museum is a small wooden box and … Continue reading

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They were the Champions!

The vast majority of our railway uniform collections represent established railway occupations, ranging from porter to station master. However, once in a while, we acquire uniforms that evoke a certain moment in time – in this case the London 2012 … Continue reading

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Happy 100th birthday to a tiny railway with a big history

The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Signalling School – a model railway layout used to train real-life signallers  – recently celebrated its 100th birthday with a three-day have-a go event here at the museum. On Friday, our director Paul Kirkman (below, … Continue reading

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A Christmas jigsaw for clumsy railway staff

As a last minute Christmas card, this object from the Museum’s small objects collection is pretty useful. The jigsaw was given by the Great Western Railway around 1935 as a Christmas present to employees, as a way of reminding them to … Continue reading

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The piece of plastic that keeps the rail network running

This dispatch baton, recently donated to the museum, may be a familiar sight to many of you. It is usually wielded by a member of platform staff at larger stations to signal that a train is ready to leave If … Continue reading

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Exploring our luggage label collection

As part of the Station Hall redevelopment I’ve been looking through our collection of luggage labels. We’ll be reproducing some of these labels and using them on the new exhibits that will be installed in Station Hall. Here are a few … Continue reading

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See your object on display in Station Hall

Almost a year ago to the day, I asked people to donate their old suitcases for us to use in Station Hall. We had a great response, and many of the items came with fantastic stories – from Herman Booth’s … Continue reading

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